Guitarist John 5 says he’d like to rework some of the songs he recorded with David Lee Roth in 2007, only this time with an old-school Van Halen edge.
“I’d love to do some [of those] songs “Fair Warning” style,” John 5 said during a recent interview on SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk”. “Heavy, distorted guitars, and riffs, and solos, and all that cool stuff but…I don’t know. We’ll see ya know?”
John 5 was referring to a yet-to-be released albums-worth of songs recorded with Roth in ’07 dubbed “The California Sessions”. So far we’ve heard “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill”, “Low-Rez Sunset”, “Giddy-Up!”, “Alligator Pants”, “Pointing at the Moon”, “Nothing Could Have Stopped Us Back Then”, “Manda Bala”, and the recently released “The Shit That Killed Elvis”.
“I think what’s magical about those songs is it’s just me and Dave,” said John 5. “It’s just me and Dave playing and recording live and I think that’s what you don’t really hear a lot today.
“Whenever I hear this stuff, I can visualize it,” he added. “And it’s pretty magical that way, ’cause it’s, like, ‘Okay.’ It reminds me of back in the day when they were recording and the records were spinning and they were making the record as it was recording because you can’t mess up. And especially you don’t wanna mess up around David Lee Roth. So it’s really cool that way. I could just visualize just me and Dave going through these songs and recording ’em that way.
“I really think the greatest song that just broke my heart, too, was ‘Nothing Could Have Stopped Us Back Then Anyway’,” continued John 5. “And that is the one with the video, with the Van Halen video, and it’s about Dave and the band and Eddie [Van Halen] and things like that. That one really is something special to me.”
Watch “Nothing Could Have Stopped Us Back Then Anyway” (Official Music Video)
Roth told Rolling Stone in 2013 the ’07 sessions were intended for a stage musical titled “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar & Grill”.
“It’s autobiographic,” said Roth. “‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow Bar And Grill’ is the opening theme song, and it’s about an Indiana kid who goes to sleep — think the Wizard Of Oz — and the characters in his life, the butcher, the baker and the newspaper guy, pop out of posters and sing him a song called ‘Giddy-Up!’ And he finds his way to all the good things in life, having discovered rock in the ’60s, and there’s a song titled ‘Alligator Pants’ — yes, I own a pair, I wore them for the last two tours. And things go horribly left-of-center wrong, of course, when you sell your soul to the devil, and one of the tunes is called ‘The Shit That Killed Elvis’. So yeah, it’s pretty stellar material.”
Watch “John 5 Plays 7 Unbelievably Iconic Guitars from Hard Rock’s Vault”